HUMPBACK WHALE BREECHES AND SENDS FISHING BOAT FLYING
August 7, 2017
Six men are lucky to be alive after a whale threw their boat metres into the air in the Whitsundays (Australia).
WARNING: This story contains graphic images that may disturb some readers.
The group was returning from a reef fishing trip on Saturday afternoon, when the large humpback breached underneath the 8.5-metre aluminium vessel, near Gloucester Island.
The impact of the collision with the whale and the water was so great that those on board were violently thrown around the boat, with two men knocked unconscious.
Skippers need to keep a lookout, authorities say
The Whitsundays is considered a whale nursery, with the species choosing the warm waters off the Queensland coast to birth their calves.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Heritage (EHP) said about 30,000 humpback whales were migrating along the Queensland coast this year.
“Humpbacks have made a remarkable comeback since the 1960s when hunting stopped,” the spokesperson said.
“EHP and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service would remind boaties to be very cautious during the humpback migration — humpbacks are on the move day and night on their migration.”
The spokesperson said adult humpbacks could weigh up to 45 tonnes.
“These huge, unpredictable mammals may surface, slap their tails or leap out of the water unexpectedly around vessels.
“Skippers need to keep a lookout at all times — even if skippers avoid cutting across the path of a whale or going within the approach limits, humpbacks may approach or nudge boats.
“If a skipper becomes concerned about the safety of their vessel and passengers due to a whale’s behaviour, he/she should stop, slow down and/or steer away from the whale immediately.”